Is it okay, releasing goldfish into the wild or are we doing our fish and our community an injustice?
It’s been a hot topic of debate for some time, and like every discussion, there are two sides to the coin. Should we be releasing goldfish? A lot of people don’t realize that the tiny goldfish they bring home will double in size in just one year, averaging an inch every year of its life. If kept in a healthy environment, they can easily outlive our dogs and cats. Most people hadn’t planned on investing in a small pond to house their pets, so what do they do when the fish outgrow the second or third tank upgrade? If they can’t find someone with a pond to take in their fish, they turn to their local natural waterways; the lakes, the rivers or the creeks
We won’t discuss the idea of flushing goldfish today
What else is there to do?
Now, you might think, if everyone does this our waterways would be overstocked with goldfish, but in most cases, most people can’t keep a goldfish alive for more than a few months. It’s a rare problem; what to do with a large goldfish. Large goldfish are older goldfish. The article makes it sound like everyone is running to the lake with their giant goldfish
There may be some cases of people who get goldfish, and can’t keep them for whatever reason, but again, this doesn’t happen often. People generally don’t buy goldfish if they don’t want them. Fair fish maybe? Perhaps people win a fish at the fair, not wanting to keep or kill it might think releasing it would be the fair thing to do, but this isn’t a common occurrence either
Overstocking is rarely a problem in our own ponds, because goldfish and Koi both eat their own eggs and fry (hatch-lings) This is true in a natural body of water also
If you read this article linked below, and scroll down, you’ll see a photo of hundreds of goldfish gathered in the shallow shoreline. In the wild, in any school of carp, you would see varying sizes, but these fish are all the same size
My thought is, a pet shop or even more likely a breeder is responsible for the overstocked population; not any one or few individual goldfish keepers. This is the work of a commercial enterprise
In one of these articles, the uninformed author writes that goldfish are fragile in bowls, but they thrive in the lakes. Well, goldfish are fragile in bowls because they can’t be kept healthy in bowls. They thrive in lakes because this is a natural healthy environment
Prey fish, most goldfish released in a healthy body of water will be eaten if they’re not at least 8″ to 12″ long. If they survived, and spawned, they would be found guilty of eating their own eggs and fry; few offspring survive. The ones that did, would become part of a balanced ecosystem
You’ll also see in one of these articles that algae is considered as grunge. They say the goldfish caused it, as though it’s a bad thing. Well yes, any living creature in the lake that creates waste is inadvertently responsible for creating algae, being (in my opinion) the end result of the nitrogen cycle. This is based on the fact that algae only forms when nitrates are present, feeding on the toxin, keeping levels at bay; Mother Nature at work
The fish living in the shallows are feeding on the algae, keeping it at bay. Mother Nature at work again
What to do with unwanted goldfish and Koi?
Another argument; many animals that are considered native to a specific region actually came from another origin; from country to country and town to town. Humans intentionally and unintentionally bring in one species to control another; right or wrong. The horse for example is not native to America, yet we have wild herds. The herds are culled, but for all the wrong reasons, and yet another hot topic of debate
Goldfish and Koi are both in the carp family, and carp are a part of just about every natural body of water in the world; the most common of the fish. This is because they’re successful, but obviously not so successful that they take over their environment, pushing other species out. If this were true, there would be no other fish in our waterways; only carp
Now, to the point of this discussion; should we release our pet fish in local waterways? The penalties are steep, but only if you get caught if releasing goldfish
The fish in the photo was said to be a goldfish caught in a lake, although most people know the fish is a carp. Goldfish and Koi are both in the carp family
What about you? Would you release your fish into the wild if there was no other alternative?
Author: Brenda Rand